Trebuchet Balls

Trebuchet Balls

Blame it on the movies, but when I imagined medieval warriors launching projectiles by trebuchet, I never imagined the were launching stone trebuchet balls.  Dead cows, maybe. Or pots of flaming oil but not stone.  That’s why it was such a treat to actually visit the castle locations.  On three of our visits, we found evidence for this medieval practice.

Dan Snow gives a sample of the stone trebuchet balls we found at Crac des Chavaliers in this vlog:

There were literally piles of them scattered throughout the castle like this:

Stone Trebuchet Balls at Crac des Chevaliers, Syria

Stone Trebuchet Balls at Crac des Chevaliers, Syria

We were also luck enough to spot these stone projectiles sinking into the dirt at Harlech Castle in North Wales.  It looks like it might have been a mix of larger projectiles and then some smaller ones that might have been used in a perrier.

Stone Projectiles: Harlech Castle, Wales

Stone Projectiles: Harlech Castle, Wales

On a medieval themed vacation that included a visit to Carcassone, we also made a side trip to visit Montségur, the site of the culminating battle of the Albigensian Crusades against the Cathars, which was a siege spanning eight months from 1243 to 1244.

Montségur, from below

Montségur, from below

At the small museum in the town, they had this collection of stone trebuchet balls, complete with weight.

Trebuchet Balls located at the Museum in the town of Montségur

Trebuchet Balls located at the Museum in the town of Montségur

Our best guess is that they were launched from this plateau just below the castle’s location on the hill top (or Pog as they refer to it).

The plateau close to the castle of Montségur

The plateau close to the castle of Montségur

What was fascinating for me, was to learn that even the earliest form cannons shot stone projectiles.  It wasn’t until later than the cannonballs from popular culture were in use.

 

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